Literary tourism consists of people travelling to places that are associated with fictional texts and characters or authors. This sometimes includes visiting an author’s grave, visiting a place where an author lives or did live, the location where a novel was set, or the route taken by a fictional character. Literary tourists tend to be extremely interested in how certain places or destinations influenced an author, and how an author made a world out of a particular place. There are many museums associated with certain authors which are also popular destinations.
Pros and Cons
Like all forms of tourism, literary tourism comes with positives and negatives.
For book lovers and literary fanatics, there is nothing better than literary tourism.
Witnessing the places that inspired an author, or where certain fictional characters lived, is truly a great experience. It allows travellers to understand the author and the motives of the characters in much greater detail. Literary tourism tends to involve significant travel, however. For example, fans of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen would have to journey all the way to London, while Lord of the Rings fans may have to go all the way to New Zealand. This can become expensive very quick. Still, there are numerous places that inspired authors that not only do not cost a lot to visit, they may have no entrance fee whatsoever.
One of the most popular sites in the world for literary tourism is New Zealand. Although J.R.R. Tolkien wasn’t from New Zealand, and Middle-Earth is not based on New Zealand, the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films have made it famous. You can find locations used in the film all over New Zealand, or visit Wellington, the home of Peter Jackson, the film’s director. One tour in particular allows tourists to stay in hobbit like homes while they tour the set, and even offers a “hobbit menu” which is supposed to provide the full hobbit experience. Dickens World, in Kent, England, is another popular destination. Inside Dickens World, tourists get to see a recreation of 19th century London, as well as famous characters from the numerous novels by Charles Dickens.
The Road Less Travelled
One of the most popular destinations for literary tourism in Canada, but perhaps little known to the rest of the world, is Prince Edward Island, because it is where the novel Anne of Green Gables takes place. In recent years, the place has been popular for Japanese tourists. The popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey has also inspired tourism, in particular various hotel packages across America which provide travellers with various risqué items from the novels.
Costs and Savings
The cost of going on a literary adventure varies greatly depending on where you wish to go. There are numerous sites that do not charge any admission, and you are able to see an author’s grave or where a fictional character lived. There are also tours and packages, however, like the Fifty Shades of Grey hotel package and the Lord of the Rings New Zealand tour, which can cost as much as $5000.